SAAF Museum airshow looking good


The only official support coming the way of the SA Air Force (SAAF) Museum for its annual airshow this year is the Silver Falcons aerobatic team.

The cutback in participating SAAF aircraft such as the Gripen and Hawk fighters as well as the Rooivalk combat support helicopter, all major crowd pleasers, has being put down to the stringent budgetary environment the entire SA National Defence Force is operating in.

But Museum Officer Commanding Lieutenant Colonel Mike O’Connor is confident the 2013 edition of the airshow will be another good one and he is hopeful it will again get the nod as the best airshow in South Africa. The Museum currently holds this award for both 2011 and 2012.

Expectations are that about 140 aircraft will be flying at AFB Swartkop on Saturday, May 11.

Apart from the Silver Falcons, who will be performing their only public display of the year, aviation enthusiasts will be able to see a Cheetah, an Impala, a pair of Vampires as well as Tiger Moths, an Auster, Antonov 2, DC-3s, a DC-4 and a Mango B737-800 among others.

A big attraction will be the Museum’s rebuilt Chipmunk and O’Connor is expecting a large turnout of rotary-wing enthusiasts to see “plenty of helicopters”.

All 15 the Museum’s airworthy aircraft will fly. These include Alouette 11 and 111, Albatross, Kudu, Puma and the always popular Vampire with its distinctive sounding Goblin engine.

The airshow will also host Mango’s aviation career expo, the first time the low-cost carrier has used the Swartkop event for this purpose after launching its career and job shadow programme in Athlone, Western Cape, earlier this year.